8 Tips to Get the Most out of the Therapeutic Relationship : Are you seeking therapy? More than half of Americans are seeking mental health treatment.
Attending a therapist is one of the most common and effective treatments for emotional and mental health problems. If you’re attending therapy sessions, you need to ensure that you get everything out of the therapeutic relationship.
Check out our tips for making the most out of your relationship with your therapist. Let’s get started!
Choose Your Therapist Carefully
Of course, there are numerous therapists in your local area. You shouldn’t rush into anyone’s therapy office without doing your research.
You need to shop around for the right therapist. You’ll eventually click when you meet the professional you can work with.
It’s not the only personality that can affect your relationship. There are dozens of approaches and methods in therapy that can differ significantly from each other.
You need to decide which type of therapy you think is right for you. Spend some time researching and learning about the various schools of thought.
You could also begin with a conversation over the phone. If this goes well, make an appointment to meet in person.
Make Appointments at Suitable Times
When you make an appointment with your therapist, you need to think carefully about which time is best for you. Don’t make commitments you can’t meet.
Therapy isn’t the same as going to the movies or getting your hair cut. You need to be in the right frame of mind to stay focused and engaged. This is the only way to make progress.
For example, you may not be able to stop yourself from getting distracted if you’re meeting your therapist in the middle of your working day. You could have a lot on your mind already.
Whatever time and date you make your appointments, ensure that you can attend punctually with the right attitude. This will make your relationship better.
Understand the Therapeutic Relationship
You need to know what to expect from the therapist and patient relationship before you get started.
The therapist needs to get to know you extremely well in order to help you. At the same time, they also need to keep the professional boundary between the patient and themselves.
This boundary should never be crossed by either of you. Remember, you’re there to talk about yourself, not the therapist’s private life. They probably shouldn’t even use themselves as a reference.
If you aren’t willing to open up and share with the therapist, they won’t be able to effectively do their job.
It may help you to think of your therapist like you would a doctor. They can diagnose and recommend treatments for you.
However, in this case, you can’t passively receive the treatment. You have to actively engage with the therapy before you will see any results.
Don’t Hold Anything Back
You shouldn’t lie to your therapist.
If you say you have symptoms that you don’t have to your doctor, this could cause your doctor to misdiagnose you. It’s the same in therapy!
You need to remain honest and open. Your therapist doesn’t need to know every detail about you. You can keep secrets as well.
Just realize that the more you share the better. If there is anything that may be relevant, don’t hold back from sharing this with your therapist either.
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Establish Your Goals
Why are you attending therapy sessions in the first place? You need to establish what you want to achieve with your therapist.
This could be a long-running project between you and your therapist. You could be visiting your therapist for many years to come.
You need to work together to make progress. This may take much longer than you imagined. Or, you could notice important improvements in a few sessions.
Every patient has different challenges and rates of improvement. If you don’t think you’re making any progress, you can simply tell your therapist what’s wrong.
Do Your Homework
Even if you show up to therapy every week, that’s not enough. You also need to do your homework outside of hours.
When you step out of your therapist’s office, your work isn’t done. You need to work on your emotions and mental health during your everyday life.
The therapist may even give you assignments—this is especially common in CBT sessions.
By showing your therapist that you have put in the effort, you’ll strengthen your relationship. You’ll time together will also be more productive as a result.
Expect to Feel Vulnerable
Your therapist’s office should be a “safe space” for you. You also need to be prepared to experience emotional vulnerability.
You may be sharing experiences or feelings you’ve never shared with anyone before. Not even the people who are closest to you.
But, don’t worry. If you feel this way, it’s probably a positive sign that you’re heading in the right direction.
And yet, don’t be shocked when you suddenly break down overwhelmed by emotion. You may even say things you come to regret during therapy.
Keep a Structure to the Session
You can’t arrive at therapy and dive straight into your day. You need to deal with the boring stuff early.
Are there any due payments? Do you have to schedule any appointments? Are there any other issues?
Now that this is taken care of, you can focus on what you came to therapy to achieve. This will help keep things efficient and professional.
Benefits from the Therapeutic Relationship
Now you know how to make the most of your therapeutic relationship.
You can’t simply wait around for your mental health to improve. You need to actively engage with the therapy if you want to see results.
Follow our tips to ensure that your relationship with your therapist is effective and fruitful. You’ll be thankful that you put the effort in!
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